Does the Spider-Man reboot live up to it’s adjective? In one word, yes! Arriving on our screens only 5 years after the end of Raimi’s trilogy The Amazing Spider-Man was always going to have a tough job convincing people that it was necessary, but Marc Webb brings a fresh take on the Spider-Man mythos to the big screen and lays the foundations for a brilliant new franchise.
Before seeing the movie I had too major concerns 1) The costume, and 2) Is another retelling of the origin really necessary? Well thankfully by the closing credits both my fears had been long alleviated.
Was another origina really needed? I mean it was only a little over 10 years ago that we saw it on the big screen and pretty much everyone knows the story of Peter Parker getting bitten by a radioactive/genetically enhanced spider and gaining powers. Whilst the first half of the film is largely enjoyable as it hits the familiar beats of how Peter becomes the titular hero, it does leave you asking whether it was really needed, couldn’t this simply have been done in a 5minute pre credit scene ala Marvel’s 2008 The Incredible Hulk? Well ultimately no it wasn’t needed, but Marc Webb‘s iteration has enough small changes to shake it up and make it feel fresh while the direct tie with the film’s villain gives it a larger emotional impact. A particular highlight of the first half is the death of Uncle Ben (oh come on you knew his days were numbered in a Spider-Man origin). The emotional gravitas of Ben’s death is the best depiction I have seen of the key plot point, it is far superior than in Raimi’s first Spidey film and, dare I say it, even more resonating than in the comics.
After the death of Uncle Ben is when the film really kicks into gear, however Peter goes from mourning to full on super hero too quickly, the film could have done with more interactions between Aunt May and her nephew to really show how hard Ben’s death was on both of them. Once we get our first glimpse of Spidey the action doesn’t let up, there are still some fantastic moments between Peter and Gwen, but once our hero is introduced it really is his show. The sense of humour is finally present and so is the action, with three, yes three, major fight scenes between Spider-Man and the Lizard all of which are spectacular (particularly the high school fight) and feel as if they were ripped from the comics themselves. The Lizard is the big bad comic book villain that Spider-Man deserves, yes he is over the top, but it really does work, and having Spider-Man go through some long, arduous, and quite frankly brutal battles, is what fans have been craving on the big screen for decades.
The film does however have some fairly large problems in the story department; plot holes,a disappearing character, and the cheesiest scene ever involving cranes (I was literally cringing in my seat). But thanks to fantastic dialogue, and performances from the cast, we have what I believe is the definitive big screen version of Peter Parker and Spider-Man. Andrew Garfield plays a very likeable Peter, but it is his portrayal of the protagonist as a shy, socially awkward person that really sells the character in a far more believable (and less dorky way) than we have seen before. Likewise Gwen Stacey is portrayed fantastically by Emma Stone and the chemistry between the two is evident throughout. Martin Sheen and Sally Fields are perfect as Uncle Ben and Aunt May respectively, and it is their performances which really sell the emotional impact of Ben Parker’s subsequent death.
On to the costume, in many of the released pictures it just looked strange, and the deviations from the iconic design from the comic book seemed utterly pointless (other than to maybe further reinforce it’s distance from Raimi’s trilogy). However the costume looks utterly brilliant on screen, it looks great whilst still maintaining a somewhat homemade look, however why they couldn’t have done this with the traditional belt and no leg stripe look is beyond me.
The film is visually breath taking, and the 3D is superb, with a wonderfully realistic CGI Lizard, complete with brilliant facial animations in which you can see Rhys Ifans performance shining through. The movements of Spider-Man are too spot on, with a real gangley spidery movement reminiscent of the way Stan Lee and Steve Ditko originally imagined him. Oh and mentioning Stan Lee, the film also features one of his greatest cameos yet!
The story could have been stronger but the film is elevated by spectacular performances from a perfectly chosen cast, which combined with some breathtaking visuals and set pieces, presents the most accurate portrayal of Spider-Man to date. Look past the plot holes and disappearing characters and you will find an enthralling superhero film full of heart.